portuguese bean soup

i’ve made this soup three times, and it is always a big hit. this one’s a keeper!


portuguese bean soup
sam choy’s wife’s recipe (from monica)

2 cups dried beans – kidney, pinto, or small red
2 smoked ham hocks or ham shanks
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
6 cups water
10 oz portuguese sausage
2 cups diced potatoes
2 cups diced carrots
1.5 cups diced onions
.5 cup diced celery
2 cups tomato puree
salt and pepper to taste

1. soak the beans in water overnight.

2. drain the beans. in a stock pot, combine soaked beans, ham hocks, chicken stock, cilantro, and water. bring to a boil, then simmer until meat and beans are tender, about 1.5-2 hours.

3. remove ham hocks and set aside to cool. when cool enough, extract meat from ham hocks, discarding skin and bones. shred the meat and return to stock pot.

4. slice and fry portuguese sausage and blog with paper towels.


add sausage to stock pot along with potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, and tomato puree.


cook until potatoes are tender. season with salt and pepper.

comments: portuguese bean soup is another hawaii staple… i’m not becoming hawaiian though! although mac salad is becoming less gross to me… aaaaahhh gotta go back to california! anyway, to me, this recipe is a little different than the “normal” recipes – it doesn’t have cabbage or macaroni; it is thicker than most; and the color is more orange-y 🙂 another thing is this recipe goes better with bread than rice – cameron says it’s because it’s so thick. in the picture at the top, we had the soup with some homemade ciabatta bread.

monica gave us this recipe, and she said she thinks the two secrets are the cilantro and the tomato puree. the cilantro is really important to the broth and the tomato puree helps make it thicker and give it that tomato taste. for this recipe, we like to use pinto beans because cameron says he likes those better for this soup… and i prefer using ham shanks because those have more meat. those ham chunks are so good in the soup. also, i like to make the soup a day before because then the flavors meld more and the soup gets nice and thick. oh and the past two times i made the chicken broth, which i think makes it really good.

pot roast – first appearance of le creuset!

my brother and his wife got us the GORGEOUS and awesome “kiwi” le creuset as our early wedding present. they are so nice 🙂

so for the first recipe, we made a pot roast to help feed nice friends who were helping us with wedding stuff. we got the recipe from the nice atk best slow and easy recipes book that cameron’s parents got for us.

DISCLAIMER: cameron says the picture below doesn’t look appetizing at all, but really, it looks good in real life and it tastes good. next time i’ll try to take better pictures.

pot roast with root vegetables

pot roast

1 (3.5 – 4 lb.) boneless beef chuck eye roast, pulled apart into 2 pieces, trimmed, and tied
salt and pepper
2 tbsp veggie oil
1 medium onion, diced medium
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced medium
1.5 lb. carrots, pelled and sliced 1/2″ thick
1 celery rib, diced medium
1 lb. parsnips, peeled and slice 1/2″thick
1.5 lb. small red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1″ pieces
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp fresh minced thyme leaves or 1/4 tsp dried
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup low-sodium beef broth
1 cup water
1/4 cup dry red wine (atk recommends a $7 to $10 bottle of medium-bodied red table wine made from a blend of grapes, such at cotes du rhone)

1. adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees. pat the roasts dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. brown the roasts on all sides, 7 to 10 minutes, reducing the heat if the pot begins to scorch. transfer the roasts to a large plate.

pot roast

2. add the remaining 1 tbsp of oil to the pot and place over medium heat until shimmering. add the onion, diced carrot, celery, and 1/4 tsp salt and cook, stirring often, until softened, 8-10 minutes. stir in the garlic, sugar, and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. stir in the broths and water, scraping up any browned bits, and bring to a simmer.

3. nestle the roasts, along with any accumulated juices, into the pot and bring to a simmer. cover, place the pot in the oven, and cook until the meat is very ttender and a fork poked into it meets little resistance, 3-3.5 hours, turning the roasts every hour.

4. remove the pot from the oven. transfer the roasts to a cutting board and tent loosely with foil while finishing the sauce. defat the braising liquid.

5. add the sliced carrots and parsnips + red potatoes to the defatted liquid in the pot.

add veggies

cover and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. transfer the vegetables to a large bowl with a slotted spoon and cover to keep warm. add the wine to the liquid left in the pot and continue to simmer until the sauce measures about 1.5 cups. slice the meat against the grain into 1/4″ slices and transfer to a serving platter. spoon the sauce over the mean and vegetables and serve.

comments: yum yum yum, this was good! the meat was really tender and it all tasted good. we used bone-in roast because that’s what we found at the grocery store and forgot to tie it, but that didn’t seem to be a problem. this is the first time we’ve eaten parsnips. actually we only could find them at star market in cam shopping center. they taste kinda like carrots, but a little sweeter and the taste is a little stronger. tasted really good in the pot roast, along with the carrots and potatoes.

i thought it was interesting that they add just a little wine at the very end to make the sauce. in the book they said cooking the meat in the red wine made it taste too strong. anyway, i liked the sauce a lot.

caldo verde

here’s another recipe from america’s test kitchen. we’ve tried a couple soups from them (i’ll post more later), and they’ve been especially good. this one is a portuguese soup.

caldo verde

caldo verde
from the best 30-minute recipes (america’s test kitchen)

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 lb. red potatoes, cut into 1″ chunks
1 tsp fresh minced oregano, or 1/4 tsp dried
2 bay leaves
salt + pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz chorizo sausage, sliced 1/4″ thick
1 bunch kale, stemmed, leaves shredded 1/4″ wide

1. bring broth, potatoes, oregano, bay leaves, and 1/2 tsp salt to boil, covered, in large saucepan. reduce to simmer and ocntinue to cook, covered, until needed in step 3.

2. meanwhile, heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. add onion and 1/4 tsp salt and cook until softened, 3-5 minutes.

3. stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. stir in broth mixture, chorizo, and kale, and bring to simmer. cook until potatoes are tender, 7-10 minutes.

4. off heat, remove bay leaves and mash some potatoes against side of pot to thicken soup to desired consistency. season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

comments: this soup was really tasty! i haven’t eaten much kale in my life, so i didn’t really know how it would taste, but now i am a fan of kale. it is great in this soup. it isn’t bitter at all, and it still maintains a little of its curly texture, which i really like. we used portuguese sausage since we already had that. portuguese sausage is linguisa, but it’s like really cheap in hawaii. people here love it! cameron says the sausage does a really good job of flavoring the soup.

soup and salad

earlier in the summer (before i got my job) i made these two tasty recipes for a nice summer dinner.

southwestern corn chowder
(from rachel ray best eats in town $40 a day, courtesy Windy Ridge Cafe, Park City, UT)

southwestern corn chowder

10 roma tomatoes
olive oil
2 lb. frozen corn
1 medium red pepper
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 small yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups half-and-half
5 small white corn tortillas fried crispy, chopped
dash cumin
pinch chili powder
1 medium avocado, small, diced
1. preheat oven to 500 F. preheat a grill or grill pan.

2. rub the tomatoes with olive oil and place on a cookie sheet. roast for 10-12 minutes until skin blisters nad blackens. remove from oven and cool. when cool enough to handle, peel the tomatoes and set aside.

roasted tomatoes

3. lay the corn out on a cookie sheet. season with 1.5 tsp salt and .5 tsp pepper. roast until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

4. rub the red pepper with olive oil. grill until skin is black and blistered. place in a resealable plastic bag and refrigerate until cooled. peel, seed, dice, and set aside.

5. in a large saucepan over medium heat, saute the onion and garlic in butter until the onion begins to soften, about 4 minutes. add the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes. add chicken stock, roasted corn, peeled tomatoes, and half-and-half and bring to a gentle simmer. add the fried corn tortillas and simmer 2 minutes.

6. puree with an immersion blender, or carefully with a regular blender. if you use a regular blender, do not fill the blender more than halfway as hot liquids can expand and spurt out of the blender. season, to taste, with cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. strain. serve soup garnished with avocado and roasted red pepper.

comments: so this is the first recipe i’ve tried from rachel ray’s $40 a day book, and it turned out quite well. actually i saw a bunch of good recipes in this book, and they must be good because they’re all recipes from real restaurants that rachel ray ate at. anyway, this is also the first recipe where i got to use an immersion blender. those things are pretty sweet. anyhow, roasting all the veggies in the oven gave the soup a real nice flavor, and using the immersion blender gave it a nice creamy texture, but you could still taste some of the corn texture, which was good. i think the final addition of the cumin and chili powder is important because it can give the soup a nice kick. the only thing i would change is that i would roast more peppers (actually, i roasted a bunch of mini ones but it still wasn’t enough) because the smokiness and sourness go really well with the soup. also, this soup tastes really good with bread!

layered cobb salad
(from epicurious.com)

layered cobb salad

For dressing
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For salad
3 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (1 1/4 lb)
2 California avocados
1 head romaine, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide slices (8 cups)
6 bacon slices, cooked until crisp, drained, and finely chopped
3 medium tomatoes (3/4 lb), seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 to 3 oz Roquefort, crumbled (1/2 to 3/4 cup)
2 bunches watercress, coarse stems discarded
2 hard-boiled large eggs, halved and forced through a coarse sieve
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives

Make dressing:
Whisk together all dressing ingredients except oil in a bowl, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified.

Make salad:
Bring 5 cups water to a simmer in a 2-quart saucepan, then simmer chicken, uncovered, 6 minutes. Remove pan from heat and cover, then let stand until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and cool completely. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes.

Halve, pit, and peel avocados, then cut into 1/2-inch cubes.

Spread romaine over bottom of a 6- to 8-quart glass bowl and top with an even layer of chicken. Sprinkle bacon over chicken, then continue layering with tomatoes, cheese (to taste), avocados, watercress, eggs, and chives.

Just before serving, pour dressing over salad and toss.

Cooks’ note:
° Dressing can be made and salad assembled 1 hour ahead and chilled separately, covered.

Makes 4 to 6 main-course servings.

comments: ok, this salad is awesome. it has everything a person could dream of in a salad AND MORE. the reason i chose this recipe is because it has 43 good reviews, a four-fork rating, and 100% of people who rated the recipe would make it again. that is like amazing. even really good recipes usually have someone complaining about something. anyhow, of course all the things that go into the salad are great, but i think the extra special thing is the dressing. it works really well with the ingredients while not overpowering them and it just has a good mix of sourness (from the red wine vinegar and lemon juice) and a little bitterness from the dijon. it makes quite a bit too, which i didn’t really realize, so we ended up with a lot of leftover salad. but the second day it still tasted really really good. the lettuce was slightly soggier, but i actually liked how it had absorbed more of the dressing (but still without having it overpower everything else) and some of the flavors had melded together more. i guess after that the lettuce might have gotten too soggy, but since we ate it all by the second day, i can’t really say for sure. i think it’s unlikely that this salad will survive that long anyway. cuz it’s really good you know. btw, we used turkey bacon (whatever that is), and it was as tasty as regular bacon!

emeril’s mardi gras jambalaya


mardi gras jambalaya
(from prime time emeril by emeril lagasse)

one 5-lb. duck, trimmed of fat and cut into 8 pieces
3 tbsp emeril’s original essence or creole seasoning
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb. andouille or other spicy sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 cups chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup chopped green peppers
1/2 cup chopped red bell peppers
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 tsp salt, or more to taste
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cups, peeled, seeed, and chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp chopped garlic
3 bay leaves
2 cups long grain rice
2 tsp minced fresh thyme
2 quarts chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
1 lb. medium shrimp
1 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. season the duck pieces with 2 tbsp essence.

2. heat the vegetable oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. add the duck, skin side down, and sear for 5 minutes. turn and sear on the second side for 3 minutes. remove from the pot and drain on paper towels.


3. add the sausage to the fat in the pot and cook, stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes. add the onions, bell peppers, celery, salt, cayenne, and black pepper and cook, stirring often, until the the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. add the tomatoes, garlic, and bay leaves and cook, stirring, until the tomatoes give off some of their juices, about 2 minutes. add the rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.


4. add the thyme, stock, and duck. bring to a boil. reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender, about 30 minutes.


5. season the shrimp with the remaining 1 tbsp essence. add the shrimp to the pot and cook until they turn pink, about 5 minutes. remove the pot from the heat and let sit, covered, for 15 minutes.


6. add the green onions and parsley to the jambalaya and stir gently. remove and discard the bay leaves. adjust the salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste. serve directly from the pot (or, if desired, transfer the jambalaya to a small ice chest to transport to an outing).

comments: this was truly tasty. it may be the tastiest meal we’ve made since coming to hawaii. it had so much tasty stuff in it, and they all worked well together. every bite you got some juicy shrimp, a strip of chicken, lots of rice, and a bunch of vegetables joined by the tasty seasoning and broth. basically we followed the recipe, except we used a whole chicken instead of a duck, because we couldn’t find any at the grocery stores here. it worked very well with chicken too though. emeril’s seasoning was actually really impressive. i really liked the spiciness and kick that it added. when i was searing the chicken, the kitchen smelled great.

the only thing i would recommend is to eat this all the day you make it. if it sits overnight, the rice absorbs any extra moisture and gets kind of mushy. it’s okay, but not as good as when it’s fresh. invite some friends over since this is meant to serve 6 (i think it probably could have served 8 though).